10 Reasons Not to Get A Dog This Christmas

TEN REASONS NOT TO GET A DOG THIS CHRISTMAS

A simple list for our tenants…

1.DEATH & HEARTACHE.

Depending on the size and breed dogs can live to be 6-15 years.  At some point they will die and you and your kids will be sad.

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2. YOU LIKE YOUR MONEY (PART I). 

Okay, so you aren’t ready to think about the dog dying… it’s young and has a full life ahead… that is until it gets hit, bit or sick and then…

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3. YOU LIKE YOUR MONEY (PART II). 

Speaking of liking your money… you also don’t have to worry about spending your money on any of this nonsense…

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4. GUILT.

You won’t have to deal with guilt like this…

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5. ALLERGIES!!!

I mean who doesn’t have allergies now a days… and if you don’t your guest might.

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6. ALL THE NOISE!!!

You know because who doesn’t like the sound of uncontrollable barking?

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7. YOU ARE CONSIDERATE OF OTHER PEOPLES PET PEEVES.

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8. YOU CAN KEEP THE PEACE.

Nothing ruins family time faster than arguing over who’s turn it is to clean up poop.

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9. NOBODY CARES ABOUT THE DAKOTAS! 

Don’t share the name of your potential dog to make it more personal and harder for your landlord to say no.

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10. YOU’D BE BREAKING YOUR LEASE AGREEMENT!

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Well there you have is… ten reasons you shouldn’t be getting a dog this Christmas (or ever depending on how you look at it), but I assume you could just as easily come up with a “10 Reasons To Get A Dog This Christmas” and since your landlords are the bomb

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… go get your Christmas dog… welcome to the family Dakota!

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MERRY CHRISTMAS LEEMANS!

(you owe us)

In the swing… Word!

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It’s almost back to everything season and I am feeling like I better get {in the swing} of things before I get swallowed by the pending tsunami of activity Fall brings. I love Summer because everything kind of gets put on hold. School, extracurricular activities, laundry… you name it… it can be paused for the sake of fun, exploration or flat out doing nothing at all.

But Fall, be it glorious for so so many reasons, means the starting back up of just about everything (for families at least). Before that crazy ensues lets focus. Before Back to School Nights… and mounds of homework that aren’t just signatures and get to know you’s… and full blown practices, rehearsals and games… and mid-week small groups… and you name it… before it’s a full rat race there is a lull in time where you’re kind of still warming up and stretching your muscles to get in position for “go time.”

That is Pre-Season Fall.

This time between back to school and actual Fall (aka. the first three weeks of September) is Pre-Season Fall (PSF)… and PSF is prime time wiggle room that can’t be wasted because it can help set the stage of real Fall. Not just in decorations and smells but also in habits and routines… hopefully some that you haven’t let go of altogether in the name of Summer… but even if that is you, now is the time to revamp. Stick with me.

Here are five habits/routines we are getting {in the swing} of by either continuing, spicing up or kick-starting them at the Great Griffin home during PSF:

  1. Early Morning Time in the Word [Continuing]
  2. Meal Planning and Meal Prep [Kick Starting]
  3. Laundry [Spicing Up]
  4. The Witching Hour [Spicing Up]
  5. Chores [Continuing]

EARLY MORNING TIME IN THE WORD [Continuing]

Thankfully I have kept this habit going throughout the Summer- in large part to the accountability I had of leading a small group. But as of fourteen days ago-ish, I only know because the days are numbered, I started going through Beth Moore’s Jesus: 90 Days with the One and Only. I am really enjoying dedicated time to studying Jesus.

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Now if you need some good food for thought on “Why God Wants You to be a Morning Person” check out Renee Gotcher’s post on the subject from todaysfrugalmom.com. Here’s a little sneak read:

Time after time, when a wise Godly woman would share the vitality of her early morning quiet time with the Lord, I cringed a bit. What is the deal with early mornings? I’m just fine connecting with God in the evening, or whenever I can find time. After all, I am not a morning person.

However, all those years of springing out of bed with just enough time to react to the first activity of the day was slowly, surely wearing me down. I was becoming a tightly wound, anxious, reactionary woman who was letting the day rule me instead of God ruling the day. Apparently, a few minutes of Bible reading and saying a quick prayer before bed the night before was not cutting it, and it was becoming more obvious as life’s struggles became increasingly difficult.

Last year, I went through one of the most spiritually challenging times in my life. I began to learn about the battle for our minds, and what it means to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5) and to “guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7). And this battle starts the minute you wake up and consciously begin your day.

I finally understood why God wanted to meet me in the morning. Why this time was so precious to the wise women who had learned this lesson before me. And why God’s Word is filled with references to the significance of the morning…

Click here to continue reading.

What really spoke to me there was the thought that I didn’t want to be a reactionary person. That is exactly what my mornings (which turned into my days) had become.

“Mommy, I’m awwwwwaaaaaaake!”

React. Go get the kids… annoyed and snippy because they’ve woken you up… again!

“Ugh… I can’t find my ______________.”

React. Search frantically for the lost whatever while cursing the mess that you continue to clean but never seems done. 

“Crap, what are we going to eat for dinner?”

React. Try to defrost something… anything… quick! Forget it. Run out and grab fast food… which is infinitely harder to think about pulling off in Italy… which makes you question why on earth you decided to move here… which leaves you dealing with a way messier can of worms.  

Reaction, after reaction, after reaction that was simply out of my control…. or at least it felt out of control. But enough! I can start my day fresh and ahead of the game if I build in enough time to heat up my vanilla chai and get into God’s word, do a devotion, pray or simply listen to a worship song. Waking up earlier has allowed me to have time in the morning to sit… and be still… and enjoy God.

Game changer.

So that tsunami of Fall activity that is heading my way will have to take a back seat because I’m letting God take the lead and steer my day. BUT the key is beating my kids to the buzzer… getting up before they do… because nothing swings my mood faster than kids who are up and at it before I can muster enough strength to start dealing with that hot mess.

So what are you waiting for? Set that alarm and get up! (This may mean needing to go to bed earlier… but we can leave that crazy talk for another day).

Tomorrow (or next) I’ll run down of how we’ve kick started Meal Planning and Meal Prep (trust me I have been dragging my feet kicking and screaming about this one… BUT there is more freedom in the meal planning game than I’ve been ready to admit).

How have you started getting back in the swing of things? What will you be continuing, spicing up or kick-starting this Fall?

Gelato Festival in Naples


Whoo! Today was a fun day attending the Gelato Festival in Naples with our friends the Wilkins’ Family. It is a touring festival, travelling both around Italy and Europe for 5 months, and visiting 9 different cities… including Naples! For four adults to try all the 14 flavors at the festival (8 flavors that are competing, plus 6 other unique and original flavors) was €23. Kids twelve and under were free to try as much as their parents would allow. Got to love that kids are free for most things in Italy.

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Once you pay you get a ticket like this called “The Gelato Card” to visit three specialty food trucks created for the festival to house all the different flavors featured this year.

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Apparently if you are hardcore, you can fill out this card and turn it in to vote for the best Italian and foreign ice cream makers for this years festival. We just wanted to eat gelato so we weren’t focused on the judging.

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We walked around and stood in quick lines to try a sample of the flavors. Now the scoops were small and cute in there baby sized cones… which may seem disappointing… but let me tell you they were the perfect size for the kids and adults alike when you consider how many flavors you could try.

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Our friend Beth’s goal was to try something crazy… and crazy we found! One of the gelato options was a spumoni style serving of tomato, mozzerella and basil flavored gelato… yes they actually tasted just like you’d think those flavors would taste… but in the unnatural consistency of cold gelato. I’ll let their faces tell the tale of how it tasted.

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Nope. Nope. Nope.

Our favorite flavor by far was the original Buontalenti- a cream based specialty flavor which “in the late 1500s, the Medici family commissioned famous artist and architect Bernardo Buontalenti to prepare a beautiful feast for the visiting King of Spain. Using his culinary skills to present an elaborate and visually pleasing display, Buontalenti presented the King of Spain with a creamy frozen dessert that we now call gelato. Buontalenti is considered the inventor of gelato.”

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It tasted heavenly with just the perfect amount of sweet creamy-ness. We got gelato-ed out… but #ohbrian was determined to at least try all the flavors which led to this binge at the end.

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Probably equally as fun as trying all the gelato was the discovery of this amazing little park just a stone throw away from the festival. The kids ran around and climbed to their hearts content burning off all the gelato calories. We agreed that this was the nicest park we’ve seen in Italy. Believe it or not parks are hard to come by… especially parks that are relatively clean and aren’t runned down.

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On the way back to the parking garage (another €12 to park… making this only a €25 day of fun #daveramseyapproved) we hit a stand where the kids could try to kick a goal to win a soccer ball… well these people were supper generous and essentially just handed all the bambinos a ball for any kind of kick. Ha!

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What a fantastic day to enjoy the festival! It is still going on tomorrow May 22nd from 12-10pm if you haven’t had the chance to enjoy.

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